Women of the VCCC - Choose to Challenge
This edition of Alliance celebrates International Women’s Day.
In this issue, women from the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre alliance contribute stories that champion women, discuss leadership and gender parity, and analyse issues, such as unpaid care, that fall, for the most part, into the laps of women.
Melissa Sheldon - VCCC consumer representative
I had just turned 29 and my diagnosis was terminal. Back then there was no cure for melanoma or even treatments to significantly prolong your life with quality. It was clear that I would be lucky to survive two years, let alone five.
Dr Sathana Dushyanthen – VCCC Graduate Education Specialist, science communicator
For the better part of 2020 in Victoria, we were indoors, in lockdown and physically isolated yet ever connected through technology. On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. And as the virus spread, an equally insidious and virulent enemy was invading our global networks - the misinformation and disinformation infodemic was upon us.
Dr Sue Matthews – Chief Executive, the Royal Women's Hospital
Research is fundamentally important for our country, it’s the engine of our economy, the driver of innovation and the motivation for change. Ensuring that women play an active role is a no-brainer.
Professor Jennifer Philip - VCCC Academic Lead, Palliative Care
In my work in palliative care, I often meet extraordinary women. Impressive, often brave and determined women – almost always quietly going about their business of providing care, ensuring others are comfortable, even flourishing despite what might be very difficult circumstances.
Geraldine McDonald - Peter Mac Director of Prevention & Wellbeing
We need to create a culture of inclusion that not only includes hiring more women but focuses on underrepresented and marginalised people such as LGBTIQ and non-binary people as many of these marginalised groups face the same challenges as outlined in gender discrimination. Diversity without inclusion is pointless and essentially results in exclusion.
Dr Charis Teh - Victorian Cancer Agency Mid-Career Postdoctoral Fellow, WEHI
I think that gender parity and opportunities for women are progressing steadily. The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is a good illustration of this. It was awarded to two incredible women who discovered the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors. It is an amazing story and opens up an exciting future for us all.
Dr Keely Bumsted O’Brien - WEHI Scientific Education Office
Many of us have heard about the importance of leadership. This may lead you to question - how can I become a leader and what does leadership mean to me? Maybe you've been told you need leadership skills to get ahead and be successful. We agree leadership is important and good leadership is even more critical. We believe that everyone is a leader; we'd like to challenge you to start thinking about your own leadership quest.
Professor Christine Kilpatrick AO - Melbourne Health
Think about the things we take for granted today like penicillin, anesthetic or chemotherapy, these advances came about because an individual knew there was another way. Women in medicine is another great example. In choosing to challenge and speak up for gender inequality we can call out bias, question stereotypes and promote a more inclusive workplace.
Professor Mei Krishnasamy – VCCC Research and Education Lead, Nursing
The WHO State of the World’s Nursing 2020 report calls for the creation of at least 6,000,000 new nursing jobs worldwide by 2030, and massive acceleration of nursing education. Why? Quite simply - “to keep the world healthy”.
Marian Lieschke - Clinical Trials Manager, Parkville Cancer Clinical Trials Unit
The Parkville Cancer Clinical trials Unit, PCCTU, has been my working life for nearly five years since the merger of the cancer services of Peter Mac, Royal Melbourne and Royal Women's in 2016.
We are now one of the largest clinical trial units in Australia and, as of last week, had 210 drug intervention trials open for participation, and many more trials where accrual is complete, but on which patients still receive care.